The other day I went to my first Mysore class. Ever since I started practicing yoga, I remember seeing in the studios’ timetables a daily Mysore class early in the morning. I wondered what that was, and other yogis told me it was a class where students practice on their own following the different Ashtanga series. A teacher was there too, but only to guide them if required, and to assist them with specific asanas.
Then, during my first month at The Shala Yoga, I had the chance to try it out at last! (Thank God for the evening classes!)
I didn’t know much about Ashtanga, and still don’t! Only that there are a different number of Series (Primary, Intermediate and Advanced) and that each Series had a number of Sequences (Standing, Seated, Finishing…) that combine a number of asanas.
There we go (big to small) – Series > Sequences > Asanas
So I brought a print out of the Ashtanga Primary series, put my mat down and hoped for the best. Luckily, the teacher was super nice and guided me through it, slowly and step by step.
- Surya Namaskaara A is the standard Sun Salutation. Despite it looks “easy”, doing the poses correctly is actually very hard, especially when it comes to chatarunga. Inhaling and exhaling at the correct times is essential, and requires your full attention to do it right. Then, we do 5 long breathings during downward facing dog.
- Surya Namaskaara B is also a Sun Salutaion with warrior one poses after each downward facing dog. First the right leg, then the left. And again, 5 long breathings during the third downward facing dog (the other two are just transitions).
When I moved onto the Standing series, I learnt the structure to follow for each Asana:
- Always start with the right side, then left.
- Then, same pose with a twist and repeat on both sides.
For the Standing sequence that is Right leg > Left leg > Twist right > Twist left
This is as far as I got on the first class. On the second Mysore class, I went on a bit forward into the Seated sequence. Although the postures are obviously different (see picture above), it follows an order similar to the Standing sequence in terms of order – right, then left. It also includes many more Sun Salutations in between asanas – all in all, quite tiring!
On my second class, I even got to do the Finishing Sequence. This one is shorter but very cool because it includes my loved inversions (shoulder and headstand), as well as my hated fish pose-types. Finally, we end up in Savasana – as we must at the end of any yoga class 😉
I loved Mysore and learnt a lot in each class! The best thing about it is that, for the first time, I gained some sort of structure I could follow on my own at home. I’m normally pretty bad at self-practise discipline… other than trying up inversions, random series I make up and Instagram yoga challenges.
However, since going to that first Mysore class, I have done a few sequences on my own at home without asking to myself “WTF am I doing?” or forgetting sides, etc. Mysore allows us to do yoga following breathing and asanas that makes sense.
I’m planning to write more about this as I gain knowledge. In the meantime, if you want to learn more and understand it better, don’t miss this https://www.ashtangayoga.info – a great source to learn it all about Ashtanga!